Having a national park on the moon is a great idea

But never mind all that. The fact is, the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act is in some ways as lovely and visionary as the missions that inspired it. America and the world at large remember the moon landings not just because they made good TV and marked the victory of the democratic West over the communist East in the U.S.-Soviet space race, but because it represented an outrageous statement of human inventiveness and ambition. We decided to go to the moon — chose to go, as JFK stressed — and then we just plain went out and did it. What’s more, we liked it so much we did it again and again. Any questions?

NASA has lost that finger-in-the-eye bravado, and there’s no telling when it will ever find it again. And while China and the others talk a good game, they ain’t there yet, and why should it take them a dozen years to go when we made the trip in eight — before anyone even knew that it was possible?

So kudos to Reps. Edwards and Johnson, for reminding us of what we once did — what we once were — and for implicitly challenging us to become that again. After all, there would be no need for their bill if some human beings from some part of the world weren’t going back to the moon eventually. The day the protections of the Lunar Landing Legacy Act become necessary, it will already have achieved its greatest purpose.